Announcing the Winner of the Mitch Kapor Award!!

The Mitch Kapor Award went to player who suggested the best idea for leveling the playing field and spanning the digital divide. And this awards goes to…

Johannes_ATM in Singapore!! Congratulations Johannes!!

The card that inspired Mitch was: Organise a global app competition + a foresight brainstorm like this game to bring financial services to the “unbanked” #leap

From Mitch: Bringing financial services to low income families is an important enabler for participation in the global economy and ascending the steps of the ladder to high income.  There are many potential ways this can happen so the idea of harnessing collective brainpower is an appealing one.

Congrats Johannes for your winning idea,  please check your inbox for a special prize!

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Announcement of the Rockefeller Foundation Award!

The Rockefeller Foundation Award went to the player for suggesting the most inspiring approach to innovation in social change for the next century… and this award goes to….

player nasredinhoja in Beijing! Congratulations nasredinhoja!!!

The card that has inspired the Rockefeller Foundation was: Use social media platforms to vote on best practice gov projects aimed at poverty alleviation – targetted communities included in voting

From the Rockefeller Foundation:

This idea demonstrates a forward-looking and innovative perspective by showing how new technologies (social media) can be applied to broaden participation by communities in how critical resources are allocated. As the comments in the card chain indicates, this idea has relevance globally and locally, and it has the potential to be organized around different sectors, engage different constituencies, and address complex problem. This approach would provide real-time feedback and input to decision-makers in a way that would build new evidence, generate new capacities in communities, inform the creation of new rules, and potentially lead to new stories about how different sectors in society connect and interact with one another—highlighting the powerful intersection and relationship among the four catalysts for change. A truly winning idea!

nasredinhoja, please check your inbox for a special prize!

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Catalysts for Change: Still Going Strong

Dear Catalysts,

At long last, we come together again to reflect on the Catalysts for Change game. For me, personally, it has been an experience that has continued to evolve as I move farther away from the actual game play.  Writing about poverty—while trying to come to a general consensus of that that means to us collectively, as I saw many players try to do during game play—and attempting to crowdsource potential solutions and innovations around social change was both challenging and exciting.

At Institute for the Future, we see many potential breakthroughs and challenges as we continue to innovate and experiment in the area of crowdsourcing social change. For us, Catalysts for Change was the beginning of something very powerful. We, all of us who played the game, are beginning to break down the traditional models of experts’ determining what’s best for all of us. We are beginning to use modern technologies to both tap the wisdom of the crowd, and to give voice to previously marginalized communities. Catalysts for Change was one step in this direction.

The Importance & Power of Global Game Guides

In Catalysts for Change we were, perhaps obviously, very motivated to ensure that we didn’t only portray Western notions of well-being and poverty alleviation. We wanted to build a global community to talk about these issues. In order to do so, we worked diligently to find inspired and enthusiastic global game guides. I need to thank each of these amazing guides for their enthusiasm and their voices that came through in the cards and in the blog. They truly made the overall experience of Catalysts for Change a success.

Just before the game launched, I sent out an email to the game guides with some final instructions. This was the first time the global game guides had been connected to one another, and the next morning I woke up to dozens of responses that were simply amazing. Two of my favorites are below…


hi everyone!!!!!

Valeria from Argentina

I can’t believe THIS!!!!!!!! God bless the internet and this amazing chance we are having. It gives me the goosebumps to feel connected to ALL of you

I keep reading your emails and I know this is getting bigger and bigger.


We should ALL get together some day. That would be a dream come true!!!!

Have a great day !


Hi everyone,

3:37 PM Lagos, Nigeria. It’s dark outside as the rain threatens. I am connected to everyone all over the world thanks to the internet.

We are all on different time zones and communicating in real-time.

Before the game starts we have already solved the problem of time travel.



The Importance & Power of Global Players

During the 48 hours of game play, we gathered over 1,600 people from 79 countries! We played over 18,000 ideas. It was an amazing experience to see so many people from all over the world playing together with one unifying goal: to attempt to make the world a better place for everyone. The more time I have spent reading through the cards and the conversations that happened during the game, the more in awe I have become of your contributions. I saw many novel ideas—like augmented empathy—as well as truly heartwarming collaborations. You can join a player-created Facebook group to continue any conversations and project ideas from the game.

Thank you to each of the 1,600 players. Without your engagement and willingness to share and try new forums, we would not be able to test the limits and potential of crowdsourcing. As a community you have been great. We have taken note of the game-play suggestions posted during the game and will incorporate those as best we can for future Foresight Engine games.

From Problems to Solutions in Four Steps

I want to point out one particular conversation that I think best highlights the power of Catalysts for Change. In a short four-card chain, players collaborated to move beyond mentioning the lack of education as a barrier to finding new paths out of poverty to a novel and practical solution.


The Leaderboard & Awards!!!

I would be remiss not to give a big shout-out to the leaderboard as it will stand in perpetuity! Congrats to Gardner and Game_Brains for being on the top of the leaderboard!

Please stay tuned as the celebrity awards will soon be announced. Sorting through 18,000 cards has had its challenges, so we apologize for the delay, but we’re excited to be able to keep this community connected for that much longer!

Game Analysis: You Get the Reins

Many of you have, of course, wondered what we are doing with the cards in the game. Analyzing 18,000+ cards is an interesting prospect, and just as we are not the experts in finding new paths out of poverty around the world, neither are we the experts in analyzing this data. Every one of us will find a different story worth telling from the 18,000+ cards.

In the spirit of crowdsourcing the future, we are releasing the card data file to the public and asking you for your contributions.

Please download them and tell us what bigger stories you find in the game. Further instructions can be found at the above link.

From The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation would like to thank everybody who participated in the game for sharing your creative ideas. You made the game a success by providing energetic and fresh thinking, building on one another’s cards, and raising important questions! As we sift through the 18,000+ cards that were played during the game, the intention is to find ideas and perspectives that can be used to inform funding strategies and that point toward solutions that address real-life problems of poor or vulnerable populations around the world.

Institute for the Future

If you are interested in following Institute for the Future and staying “in the know” for a possible next game, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog.

Signing off now …

Your faithful game master,

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Thank you! And stand by for celebrity awards!

It’s official! More than 1,600 players joined us in the final 48 hours, playing 18,160 cards!

As we wrap our 48-hour global conversation with the world about catalysts for change, we are extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who joined. We’re especially grateful to our global game guides, under the leadership of our game master Tessa Finlev, for making it possible for people all over the world to participate in this most important conversation.

We have a wealth of ideas to tap as we look ahead to the future, and one of the first ways we’ll share them is with a public announcement of the CELEBRITY AWARDS. Watch for the date and time of the announcement.

Of course, there’s much more analysis to do. This blog will continue to be “communications central” for announcements about our plans and for tracking breakout “micro-actions” from this amazing network we’ve created together.

For now, though, rest up from your good work. And THANK YOU for being CATALYSTS FOR CHANGE!

Recent Press: See what the media has been saying about the game!

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Mission 8: Catalyze a DIGITAL LEAP Winner

The winner of the Digital Leap award is Vexelius for the idea of digitizing oral tradition.

Digitizing culture could be empowering, as it could both receive outside recognition and be an act of self-affirmation.

Too often, cultural traditions are seen as something that must be discarded in order to make progress. However, this can leads to the adoption of culturally-inappropriate solutions that are doomed to fail or to the lowering of cultural self-esteem. This idea of using technology to preserve oral tradition could be part of a larger approach, in which technology leverages existing culture, instead of replaces it.


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Mission 7: Catalyze WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP Award Winners

The Women’s Leadership award goes to MacIntyre for the idea of a cooperative women’s childcare center/shelter, run by and run for women.

The idea was particularly striking for the multiple benefits it offered—employment, childcare, and providing women protection. Perhaps the most important potential benefits of such a program, though, are the empowerment a “for-us, by-us” model instills and the way it doesn’t force women to make a choice between working and spending time with their children.

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“The best way to predict the future is to create it”

Peter Drucker made this comment before the online game “Catalysts for Change: Paths out of Poverty” was invented. In the past 48 hours, over 17,000 cards were played by 1,500 participants over 50 countries. This real-time online collaboration has illustrated the power of change we can co-create by putting our heads and hearts together. Now let’s keep walking together on the new paths out of poverty.

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Winners!! Of the Innovative Citizenship Award!!!!

Plasko_Kisic in Peru and Open in Oakland win the Innovative Citizenship award for touching on a very old issue that continues to have deep modern implications.

Plasko_Kisic reminds us that denying one group the ability to fully express their identity and to exercise their own citizenship within a nationstate leads to very tense relationships. Providing a system to allow all identities and language to be heard will help create a stronger and more engaged citizenship.

Open built on this idea with a practical solution—tied to incentives for governments to support indigenous languages.

And reminds us of more downfalls to NOT taking this step:



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Everything does not start and end with funding.

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Super Citizen Award!

The Super Citizen is awarded to Nasrendinhoja for rethinking rules to favor the marginalized. People often ask: Do our votes really count – when, how and by whom? Nasrendinhoja proposes that marginalized communities take full advantage of social media platforms to vote on government projects that best alleviate poverty. This pragmatic suggestion resulted in a C4C conversation that gained momentum overnight. Taufik noted that the idea would be immediately applicable to SE Asia where information communication technologies have reached a high rate of penetration. Tanja observed that non-smart mobile phones could be used as a voting mechanism in African countries, (presumably through SMS). Johannes pitched in with an idea to identify specific sectors to target for votes, such as people’s access to water sources. He also questioned whether voting access would be restricted or extended to others. Sahiba pointed to the potential efficacy of public opinion, and Jntdz raised a cautionary comment to consider options in countries that restrict social media platforms.

The cards played in this thread show us the power of C4C conversations. That is, we don’t have to develop new technologies but rather, can redesign ways for individuals and communities to express a powerful voice and at the same time, encourage and reward accountability across society.

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